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How Many Solo Operators?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Smallaxe, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,192

    More importantly, would your wife call it a solo operation? :laugh:
  2. HomesteadPrep

    HomesteadPrep LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    This is a time saver since I planned to post a thread similar to this in the next few days, lol. This will be my 1st year out and I have been approached to mow, weed eat, edge and blow for a few homes. Additionally I have been asked about pressure washing (sidewalks, walk ways, drive ways, siding, parking spots), gutter cleaning, roof blowing, leaf clean up, and a few other odd's and in's. I have been having a hard time trying to estimate the total hours of just the clients lawns, how many days a week I will be mowing, and how I should try to schedule or juggle these other side job profits.
    Most of the LCO's in this area only offer the mow and blow service and I was hoping that my "niche" would be the larger selection of optional services. Granted I intend to try to set up the appointments for mowing services as a Monday - Thursday arrangements, which would leave me Friday & Saturday for the other endeavors. Since the average lawn in the subdivisions around me are going for $35 a pop (30 - 45 minute mow time) and the average gutter cleaning is roughly $100 (45 - 60 minutes, even though it would only would be once a month), along with the pressure washing which depending on the time frame (driveways - 1 hour - $125 average) can supplement the initial build up of customers.
    My thinking from talking to people in the subdivisions is that most of the male homeowners either firmly believe that their kids should be forced to mow the grass, but that they aren't mature enough to be using a high pressure washer that can easily tear up windows, flower beds, or paint from their vehicles should be left to someone else. None of them seem excited at the prospect of climbing a ladder to shovel out pine needles from their gutters, and the kids aren't graceful enough to blow off the roof.
    My point is that I can see a market for the lawn mowing from those that are too busy working to keep up with it as well as servicing their other needs once your foot is in the door. On the other hand if they are happy with getting their kids out there to mow then the gutter cleaning, pressure washing, roof blowing, misc other services will offer a profit where there might not have been any to begin with.
  3. sjessen

    sjessen LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Knoxville, Tn
    Messages: 4,263

    Homestead, sounds like you have a plan. Just have to wait and see how it works out. Plans can always be tweaked.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Oh yeah, she agrees with Solo Op, becuz she ain't taking any "instructions" from me... :)
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The thing I like about solo op is doing a lot for a few customers and concentrating on doing it with excellence... After almost 30 years the people that I've kept have become my friends and they trust me to do anything that requires trust and loyalty...

    Doing a few things for a lot of people , to me would just be a constant headache... :)
  6. BESSY12

    BESSY12 LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 12

    Primarily I started with the intent of mow, blow, and go. but I am a meticulous person when it comes to my work, so half-a** doesn't cut it with me. But the market isn't always there for mowing (typically the heat of the summer) at which time I had to diversify. Because I live in a small community, and try to base the majority of my work in a small area that eliminates too much travel, I get asked to do a few other things from tilling to mulch, these services have helped grow my business, and made me a heck of a lot more profitable i figure, than i would have been sitting on my arse during the dry spells.

    In my opinion, if you have the ability to diversify or expand, without over-exerting yourself or reducing the quality of your services, do so. You never know, you could discover the next big money maker in your area! That being said, as soon as your job becomes work, and you start to lose the drive to work, consider it time to rethink your business plan. Make it fun again, and ENJOY WHAT YOU ARE DOING! because the minute you lose your passion, you can quickly see yourself turning in the towel.

    The world needs more small business!
  7. phillie

    phillie LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 861

    I am solo. I specialize in the health part of Turf. Fert, chem. apps, seeding, and aeration. Until that takes up all of my time I also offer Mulch, snow removal, plant installs, and everything else listed on my site. Hell, I put in an egress window last week that required a 6 ft deep hole and a replaced a whole deck's deckboards the week before. Anything I can do to keep money coming in so I can advertise my main focus.
  8. ralph02813

    ralph02813 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Charlestown, RI
    Messages: 1,041

    That is exactly what I am doing. It is so nice to have a customer say hey this year I would like to:_______________ and never ask you for a quote.

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